How I Found Faith
I tried to find a source of strength outside of my being to help me. I completely drew a blank, though IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d go through the motions of prayer hoping that someone would hear me. But that didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t give me much comfort.
Date: 1/17/2011 7:17:46 PM ( 28 mon ) ... viewed 640 times
I was brought up in a Jewish, kosher home. Our family life revolved around Judaism. My grandfather was an Orthodox Cantor. I went to Hebrew School three times a week for six years and became a Bat Mitzvah. Even our kitchen clock had hebrew letters instead of numbers. Although the traditions of my religion are deeply embedded in me and are comfort zones, I have had to ask myself why Judaism never filled me spiritually or gave me a source of strength to believe in.
Jewish people don’t talk about God the way people of other faiths do. God is so highly revered in Judaism that he is referred to as Hashem, and his name is either written in Hebrew or spelled G-D. I sat through Sabbath and holiday services for many years, never understanding what my prayers meant because they were said in a language I did not understand. I was led to believe that those prayers were the only thing God heard. My parents did the same thing for their entire life and never questioned anything. That is something I don’t understand.
I have always been the kind of person that needed to understand what I was doing before I’d do it. I have never done anything “Just Because”–and “Because you are supposed to” was often the answer in regard to my questions. That was never a good enough answer for me. So Judaism became one of the seemingly illogical things that I rebelled against throughout my life.
When I became analytical and old enough to think for myself I decided that God didn’t exist. It was also at that point in my life when I decided to throw everything I’d ever known out the window and I began to pursue my own path. I was met with stoic resistance by my parents. I was told that “A good Jewish girl just doesn’t do those things.” I guess that in my own way I was seeking meaning, though I wasn’t conscious of that spiritual quest until the pain in my life was far too much for me to bear. Adversity either brings us to faith or breaks us. There is no in between.
So I tried to find a source of strength outside of my being to help me. I completely drew a blank, though I’d go through the motions of prayer hoping that someone would hear me. But that didn’t give me much comfort. I read spiritual, new age, and self-help books looking for answers and realized that I could truly look beyond myself for answers. So I learned to believe in something, but I would not call it God–after years of being told that I wasn’t allowed to say the word, when I needed to I literally couldn’t do it.
The older I got and the more life that I had under my belt, the more I could look back and see all the times that the “Higher Power” had been there for me–had heard my prayers. I finally had faith and began to call my Higher Power, God. Then I struggled with how to pray to him.
It seemed to me that everybody else prayed to God with carefully formulated words. Try as I might, I couldn’t put a prayer together. So the connection was one way. I knew God was there for me but I couldn’t talk to him.
One day I came to the realization that I could talk to God the same way I talked to a close friend. It didn’t matter how I worded it; he always heard me. I talked to God as he sat in the passenger seat of my car as I drove. I talked to him as he sat on the stool at the kitchen counter while I prepared a meal. I kidded with him and asked him for trivial favors (like a good parking space). I felt his arms around me when I was troubled and allowed him be my strength. When my eyes were finally open I discovered the most amazing thing–he always heard me and he always answered me…and he always had.
I learned to be grateful and thank him all day long for things both large and small. The more I thanked him and told him how much I loved him, the more miracles he worked in my life. It was so simple, I couldn’t believe it. God was always by my side!
My faith today is unshakeable. I constantly feel connected to God in a spiritual way, though not at all in a religious way. I don’t feel I have to go through rituals or motions, or talk to him in a house of worship for him to hear me. He is my friend, my father, my rock, and he never leaves my side. I don’t have to see him to know that he’s there because I feel him there. He’s always there in my heart, my soul, my spirit.
I am grateful for God’s perpetual love. I don’t know how I ever lived without it.
The radio broadcasted version of this article "Faith and Spirituality: The Foundation of a Fulfilling Life" can be listened to on A Fine Time For Healing
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